PNT day 71 – Tidal challenges

Pacific Northwest Trail

Hole-in-the-Wall Camp (1199.7) to Norwegian Memorial Camp (1207.1)

7.4 miles

Today’s coastal hike wasn’t too easy and I was stopped way too early by tidal restrictions.

But let’s start at the beginning….

Once again I had to leave Camp way too early to stay within the limits of the tide – or so I thought. There were several points on my route which required a tide lower than five or six feet. First thing in the morning was my crossing through the hole in the wall which was really cool!

I checked out some tidepools and started walking along the beach on the other side. Once I got around the next headland it started to get more and more rocky and I was already delayed when I got to Cedar Creek Campsite.

Finally I got to fill my water bottle again as I passed a small stream flowing down to the ocean. Strange enough water is a big issue here at the coast and as I am writing these lines I am thirsty again and have only limited water.

The trail was not only more and more rocky and wild it was also deserted. No one else seemed to be on these beaches. And in between I could understand why. The next headland was again a scramble over big rocks. All kinds of rocks: dry ones, halfway dry ones, wet ones and overgrown ones with the latter being the most slippery. I scrambled already down in the other side and was thank god not on too big rocks when it happened: I slid and there was nothing I could do. Somehow my body folded together like a camping chair and I crashed on my left side between some rocks pushing my poles away. The impact was quite heavy but only seconds after it happened I knew I wasn’t seriously injured. I got up immediately, roughly checked my backpack and my phone which was in my left pocket and then kept moving. I told myself that I was alright and tried to regain my confidence on the stones again. No time to cry!

After this little shock it took a while for me to get back to normal. Nearly. On the second last day of my hike. Oh man!

I was glad when the hike along the coast turned into a beach hike again and I could gain some speed. Next thing I met a couple of rangers who asked me if I had seen a guy with lots of tattoos. I couldn’t really help but was wondering afterwards why they both carried a gun. In return I had asked if my last tidal crossing was serious and if I should stick to the times. The advice “don’t risk anything” was clear. I was already short on time and arrived at the Norwegian Memorial Camp at noon. From here it was four miles to Yellow Banks where I wanted to camp but the tidal clock only gave me a couple of hours. I couldn’t make it as the maps said it was a rocky section with potential slow progress again.

I decided to stay at the Norwegian Memorial and while I had lunch on the beach I saw the rangers again. They had the guy with tattoos in their middle. It looked a bit like they escorted him out of the park. I was curious and wish I could have asked.

Making camp so early was a bummer and I was a bit bored. The only attraction was a super high tide that crashed into the shores and brought some new driftwood (56 $ a piece 😉 )

I was glad when a dad and his son showed up once the tide was low enough. They camp nearby and we chatted for a while. I was thankful for having some company again! They even are from Bonners Ferry and have family in Mannheim. It’s a small world!

Tomorrow will be my last day on the Pacific Northwest Trail. Well… if I can get all the way to Cape Alava which is about ten miles from here. I haven’t had a lot of time to think about the end of my hike lately but it’s about time to make it end. It has been a tough journey! And I am already afraid that my last day will be exactly that: tough!

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